Alternative Fire Alarm Reporting: New Codes & New Network Security Concerns

Lower costs, gain RMR, minimize liability.

The NFPA 72 (National Fire Alarm Code) is a standard published by the National Fire Protection Association, to provide the latest safety provisions covering the “application, installation, location, performance, inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire alarm systems, supervising station alarm systems, public emergency alarm reporting systems, fire warning equipment and emergency communications systems (ECS), and their components” (nfpa.org).

The code is updated every 3 years in order to make changes and updates to keep up with evolving technology and new research to fire alarm systems. Under the latest 2016 edition requirements for Fire System Monitoring has changed drastically. The three options to keep current for fire system monitoring are two telephone lines requiring special, site specific AHJ approval; a single phone line plus another independent form of communications, or a Sole Path Fire Communicator or Equivalent.

The least popular and most costly, 2 telephone lines is now frowned upon under the current standards. It is permissible providing you get site-by-site approval from your local authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ). The new code mandates a 6-hour test-timer (4 test timers per day), alternating between the two phone lines.

The second choice is a single phone line plus another independent form of communication.  This is a standard phone line plus a cellular communicator, long-range radio, or IP communicator.  They must meet current supervision/installation requirements listed for your application.

The most popular option is a Sole Path Fire Communicator or equivalent, preferred for its simple installation, lowest cost, and the high level of supervision.  Install a listed Performance-based technology, most commonly a Sole Path Communicator.  To meet NFPA requirements, make sure you get one with at least 
60-minute supervision, and that can be installed without a back-up phone line or IP connection.

Napco’s StarLink Fire™ Sole or new Dual Path Cellular & IP Radios are ideal solutions for meeting code, ensuring life safety communications get thru securely, and for opening up a new source of revenue for dealers and integrators. Starting at $29.95net with any tradeup (2G or POTS), StarLink Fire’s Universal Commercial Communicators can be used to upgrade any brand fire system communicating in 4/2 or Contact ID; they’ll meet NFPA 72 and UL compliance, plus more securely, quickly report fire alarms to any central station. Dealers can choose either AT&T® or Verizon Certified ® CDMA models, and report via the nation’s 2 largest cyber-protected  multibillion-dollar cellular nationwide networks, for maximum security & liability protection. Plus, with the leased landlines replaced for the account, the alarm company gets a new source of RMR from its existing or new-found fire accounts. 

For more information on StarLink Fire Universal Sole & Dual Path Cellular & IP Fire Alarm Communicators visit www.napcosecurity.com/starlink, or call Napco at 800-645-9445.

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